Updating your Olympus Camera Firmware without Olympus Workspace

As a Fujifilm camera user and also ex Pentax user, it made sense to me that installing new firmware updates was easy. You just downloaded the latest firmware for your camera from the brand’s update website, copied it to an sd card, card into camera – update and ready, well, it took a few more operations, but it wasn’t rocket technology either.

As a new Olympus user the situation is different. Olympus uses its Olympus Workspace software for this. All very nice on Windows, but what if you work on Linux ? Yes, that’s what you get when using Linux shit I hear you say. But I believe in freedom of opinion and choice, I also believe that things should be kept simple, because even via Windows this is not always a smooth working way of updating – I know someone with three E-M1 MKII cameras where non of the them could be updated, coincidence ? nope, just type Olympus firmware update in Google, and you will be amazed of the problems.

So it should be possible in another way, and it is !

After a long search up forums and others, I came across this website : LightSnowDev https://lightsnowdev.com/blog/

LightSnowDev is the website of Jonathan Schwarzenböck, he started this website in 2014. As a computer science student and the lucky owner of an E-M10 he wanted to use the possibilities of his camera to the fullest, and that’s how this website was born. Today you can find firmware updates for various Olympus cameras on his website.

But does it work?

Well, I currently have several Olympus cameras including two E-M5 MKII, on these two cameras I applied the SD card update procedure myself, and it went like with my Pentax and Fujifilm cameras without any problem.

Is there no risk then?

I’m certainly not going to say that a problem is out of the question, but that can be with any method. As long as you follow the procedure carefully, it shouldn’t be a problem. Not sure ? first check which version your current firmware is, and check on the Olympus website what the possible improvements are of the various firmware updates, you may then decide that an update is unnecessary in your case – you can also opt for a partial update however, by choosing not the latest but an earlier version, the risk remains the same.

The Update procedure as I performed it :

  • Check your current firmware version : go to menu -> spanner menu (wrench) -> firmware or software version
  • Download the required firmware version from the LightSnowDev website
  • Format an SD card, create the folder DCOLYMP
  • Rename the downloaded firmware update file according to the naming on the LightSnowDev website
  • Copy the renamed file to the DCOLYMP folder on the SD card
  • As a result, your SD card should now contain a folder named DCOLYMP, with inside the renamed firmware update
  • Make sure the camera has a fully charged battery !
  • Make sure the camera is turned off and insert the prepared SD card into the camera
  • Press the “OK” button, turn on the camera, then release the “OK” button
  • Your camera will turn on with a black screen, and the LED on the front of your camera will be orange
  • Put your camera down safely and don’t touch it anymore – very important: never turn it off !
  • Wait for the LED to blink quickly – the update is now complete.
  • Turn off the camera
  • Turn the camera back on, go to the menu, scroll down to spanner (wrench) menu on your camera, scroll down to firmware version or software version

TIP : downloading the firmware update from the site doesnt always work easy due to safety and other restrictions on your computer, I found that the download button didn’t work on my system, not even via shift click.
The alternative link also did not work via clicking, right clicking and opening in new tab also did not work.
But right clicking and “save link as” did work!
In Firefox you must first give permission after clicking the download button.
So it can work differently on the different systems, anyway, there is nothing wrong with the website itself, it takes some searching but in the end it works.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lightsnowdev4-1.pngWhy Olympus has made its update procedure so complicated is a mystery to me. The micro 4/3 system has many advantages, and many professional users of the system will have no problem with the current update system. But there are many other users, starters, bloggers and vlogers, who are not all technical or even have a Windows computer, but a Chromebook or even an Android tablet, these photographers also need to be able to update their camera.

Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu" :-) My Photography software : Linux Kubuntu 22.04 LTS, RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. My camera Gear in 2022: Olympus E-M1 Mark II & Mark III for bird, wildlife, architecture and landscape photography. Olympus E-M5 MKII for lightweight and travel photography. Olympus E-M1 silver edition for Vintage lenses . Olympus E-M10 MKIII and an E-PL Seven for fun. For realy rough adventures an Olympus TG-3 ! Development on an old 17" Dell Studio 1749, Core i5 - 8Ram - and 3TB Well, I guess it's all about rough and tough !

4 thoughts on “Updating your Olympus Camera Firmware without Olympus Workspace

  1. Olympus has been doing something difficult for other people to update the firmware through software. They should do the SD card version long time ago. Thanks for sharing. Hope they also make the handheld high res for EM1 MK2 which i think it is more than capable through firmware upgrade.

    Liked by 1 person

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